Is the NYT Maureen Dowd throwing Hillary under the Bus too?
THE capital is in the throes of déjà vu and preview as it plunges back into Clinton Rules, defined by a presidential aide on the hit ABC show “Scandal” as damage control that goes like this: “It’s not true, it’s not true, it’s not true, it’s old news.”
The conservatives appearing on Benghazi-obsessed Fox News are a damage patrol with an approach that goes like this: “Lies, paranoia, subpoena, impeach, Watergate, Iran-contra.”
(Though now that the I.R.S. has confessed to targeting Tea Party groups, maybe some of the paranoia is justified.)
Welcome to a glorious spring weekend of accusation and obfuscation as Hillaryland goes up against Foxworld.
The toxic theatrics, including Karl Rove’s first attack ad against Hillary, cloud a simple truth: The administration’s behavior before and during the attack in Benghazi, in which four Americans died, was unworthy of the greatest power on earth.
After his Libyan intervention, President Obama knew he was sending diplomats and their protectors into a country that was no longer a country, a land rife with fighters affiliated with Al Qaeda.
Yet in this hottest of hot spots, the State Department’s minimum security requirements were not met, requests for more security were rejected, and contingency plans were not drawn up, despite the portentous date of 9/11 and cascading warnings from the C.I.A., which had more personnel in Benghazi than State did and vetted the feckless Libyan Praetorian Guard. When the Pentagon called an elite Special Forces team three hours into the attack, it was training in Croatia — decidedly not a hot spot.
Hillary Clinton and Ambassador Chris Stevens were rushing to make the flimsy Benghazi post permanent as a sign of good faith with Libyans, even as it sat ringed by enemies.
The hierarchies at State and Defense had a plodding response, failing to make any superhuman effort as the siege waxed and waned over eight hours.
In an emotional Senate hearing on Wednesday, Stevens’s second-in-command, Gregory Hicks, who was frantically trying to help from 600 miles away in Tripoli, described how his pleas were denied by military brass, who said they could not scramble planes and who gave a “stand-down” order to four Special Forces officers in Tripoli who were eager to race to Benghazi.
“My reaction was that, O.K., we’re on our own,” Hicks said quietly. He said the commander of that Special Forces team told him, “This is the first time in my career that a diplomat has more” chutzpah “than someone in the military.”
The defense secretary at the time, Leon Panetta, insisted, “We quickly responded.” But they responded that they would not respond. As Emma Roller and David Weigel wrote in Slate: “The die was cast long before the attack, by the weak security at the consulate, and commanders may have decided to cut their losses rather than risking more casualties. And that isn’t a story anyone prefers to tell.”
Truth is the first casualty here when competing fiefs protect their mythologies. Some unhinged ideologues on the right cling to the mythology that Barry and Hillary are out to destroy America.
In the midst of a re-election campaign, Obama aides wanted to promote the mythology that the president who killed Osama was vanquishing terror. So they deemed it problematic to mention any possible Qaeda involvement in the Benghazi attack.
Looking ahead to 2016, Hillaryland needed to shore up the mythology that Clinton was a stellar secretary of state. Prepared talking points about the attack included mentions of Al Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia, a Libyan militant group, but the State Department got those references struck. Foggy Bottom’s spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, a former Cheney aide, quashed a we-told-you-so paragraph written by the C.I.A. that said the spy agency had “produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to Al Qaeda in Benghazi and eastern Libya,” and had warned about five other attacks “against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British ambassador’s convoy.”
Nuland fretted about “my building leadership,” and with backing from Ben Rhodes, a top White House aide, lobbied to remove those reminders from the talking points because they “could be abused by members” of Congress “to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either?”
Hicks said that Beth Jones, an under secretary of state, bristled when he asked ask her why Susan Rice had stressed the protest over an anti-Muslim video rather than a premeditated attack — a Sunday show marathon that he said made his jaw drop. He believes he was demoted because he spoke up.
Hillary’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, also called Hicks to angrily ask why a State Department lawyer had not been allowed to monitor every meeting in Libya with Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who visited in October. (The lawyer did not have the proper security clearance for one meeting.) Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, has been a rabid Hillary critic on Fox News since the attack. Hicks said he had never before been scolded for talking to a lawmaker.
All the factions wove their own mythologies at the expense of our deepest national mythology: that if there is anything, no matter how unlikely or difficult, that we can do to try to save the lives of Americans who have volunteered for dangerous assignments, we must do it.
Fourth Benghazi witness gagged by red tape..
Obama administration officials are finally letting the attorney for a Benghazi whistle-blower get a security clearance — but the clearance is at such a low level that it will probably slow the congressional probe of how the administration handled last year’s terrorist attack on the embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
Victoria Toensing represents an unnamed government official who can help explain the reaction of top government officials to the jihadi attack on the U.S diplomatic site in Benghazi and killed four Americans last Sept. 11.
The official may also be able to explain if officials rewrote intelligence reports and took other actions to minimize media coverage of the administration’s errors and the perceived role of Al Qaeda jihadis.
At least three officials will testify today at a House hearing about the scandal, and are expected to say top officials at the Department of State took actions to minimize political damage to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In the days after the attack, officials claimed the attack had resulted from a spontaneous demonstration against an anti-Muslim film. That story was quickly refuted, although the filmmaker was arrested on a probation violation and remains in prison.
US drone strikes being used as alternative to Guantánamo, lawyer says Lawyer who drafted White House drone policy says US would rather kill suspects than send them to Cuban detention centre…
The lawyer who first drew up White House policy on lethal drone strikes has accused the Obama administration of overusing them because of its reluctance to capture prisoners that would otherwise have to be sent to Guantánamo Bay.
John Bellinger, who was responsible for drafting the legal framework for targeted drone killings while working for George W Bush after 9/11, said he believed their use had increased since because President Obama was unwilling to deal with the consequences of jailing suspected al-Qaida members.
“This government has decided that instead of detaining members of al-Qaida [at Guantánamo] they are going to kill them,” he told a conference at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Obama this week pledged to renew efforts to shut down the jail but has previously struggled to overcome congressional opposition, in part due to US disagreements over how to handle suspected terrorists and insurgents captured abroad.
An estimated 4,700 people have now been killed by some 300 US drone attacks in four countries, and the question of the programme’s status under international and domestic law remains highly controversial.
Bellinger, a former legal adviser to the State Department and the National Security Council, insisted that the current administration was justified under international law in pursuing its targeted killing strategy in countries such as Pakistan and Yemen because the US remained at war.
“We are about the only country in the world that thinks we are in an armed conflict with al-Qaida,” Bellinger said. “We really need to get on top of this and explain to our allies why it is legal and why it is permissible under international law,” he added.
“These drone strikes are causing us great damage in the world, but on the other hand if you are the president and you do nothing to stop another 9/11 then you also have a problem,” Bellinger said.
|BREAKING: Al-Qaida‘s terror plans posted on Facebook|
|It seems you and your kids aren’t the only ones using Facebook these days.
Even the bad guys are hooked.
Just look what was posted on the Facebook page of a terrorist exposed in a disaster planned for this week.
The Tunisian man arrested this week on charges of plotting to derail a Canadian train posted all the chilling details of the inner workings of al-Qaida on his Facebook page – including numerous links to other notorious terror groups.
Barack Obama declared that he was “confident” of achieving “our objective of defeating the core of al-Qaeda”.
Although he acknowledged the need to pursue the “remnants” of the terrorist group and its affiliates, the overall message was clear – al-Qaeda was badly degraded, the tides of war were receding and the US was winning this fight that was no longer even officially a war.
The Boston bombings would appear to present a fundamental challenge to that assessment and once again bring the nagging uncertainty of terrorism back on to the American main street.
Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely says he has confirmation that Syrian forces have used chemical weapons against rebel forces and civilians, and those weapons are likely stockpiles received from Iraq prior to the U.S.-led invasion 10 years ago.
Vallely has met twice in the region with military commanders for the Free Syrian Army, which he describes as the largest and much more moderate faction among the rebels, which also include elements of al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood. He also gets regular reports from a Canadian medical team. Vallely told WND that team is certain that a chlorine gas weapon was used in recent strikes.
“From what I received from the Canadian medical team who works out of Aleppo is that is was chlorine and that what you saw were the reactions on those videos that were put out within the last week,” Valle the chlorine will cause skin irritation. If it’s mixed with other types of gases too, then it could have an even more enhanced effect on the human body, not only breathing but on the skin.”
President Barack Obama has the authority to use an unmanned drone strike to kill US citizens on American soil, his attorney general has said.
Eric Holder argued that using lethal military force against an American in his home country would be legal and justified in an “extraordinary circumstance” comparable to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“The president could conceivably have no choice but to authorise the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland,” Mr Holder said.
His statement was described as “more than frightening” by Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, who had demanded to know the Obama administration’s position on the subject.
“It is an affront the constitutional due process rights of all Americans,” said Mr Paul, a 50-year-old favourite of the anti-government Tea Party movement, who is expected to run for president in 2016.
Mr Holder wrote to Mr Paul after the senator threatened to block the appointment of John Brennan as the director of the CIA unless he received answers to a series of questions on its activities.
Mr Paul on Wednesday evening took to the floor of the Senate to launch an old-fashioned filibuster in an effort to delay a vote on the approval of Mr Brennan for CIA director. “I won’t be able to speak forever, but I’m going to speak as long as I can,” he said, before embarking on several hours of criticism of Mr Obama’s compliance with the US constitution.
Mr Obama has been sharply criticised for the secrecy surrounding his extension of America’s “targeted killing” campaign against al-Qaeda terrorist suspects using missile strikes by unmanned drones.
The secret campaign has killed an estimated 4,700 people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. A quarter are estimated to have been civilians prompting anger among human rights campaigners.
According to research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, drone strikes killed between 474 and 881 civilians – including 176 children – in Pakistan between 2004 and last year.
Criticism within the US has focused on the implications for terror suspects who are also US citizens, after Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric born and educated in the US, was killed in Yemen in 2011.
The administration claims it has the legal authority to assassinate Americans provided that they are a senior al-Qaeda operative posing an imminent threat and it would be “infeasible” to capture them.
This justification emerged only last month in a leaked memo from Mr Holder’s department of justice. Mr Obama this week agreed to give Congress his full set of classified legal memos on the targeting of Americans.
Civil liberties campaigners accuse the president and his aides of awarding themselves sweeping powers to deny Americans their constitutional rights without oversight from Congress or the judiciary.
- Eric Holder clarifies policy on drone attacks on U.S. soil (reuters.com)
- Flashback: Obama Says Waterboarding Is Torture …(But He’ll Drop a Drone Bomb On Your Head) (thegatewaypundit.com)
- Sen. Rand Paul: I’ll end filibuster once Obama says no to drone strikes in the U.S. (rawstory.com)
- America is shamed that only Rand Paul is talking about drone executions | Amy Goodman (guardian.co.uk)
Via Yahoo! News
The White House on Tuesday defended targeted assassinations of Americans thought to consort overseas with terrorists as “necessary,” “ethical” and “wise,” as the Obama administration faced fresh questions about its sharply expanded drone war.
“We conduct those strikes because they are necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats—to stop plots, prevent future attacks and, again, save American lives,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “These strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise.”
Carney’s comments came after NBC News published a Justice Department memo that lays out a broad rationale for targeting individual Americans anywhere outside the U.S. for assassination—without oversight from Congress or the courts, and even if the U.S. citizen in question is not actively plotting a specific terrorist attack.
“Targeting a member of an enemy force who poses an imminent threat of violent attack to the United States is not unlawful. It is a lawful act of self-defense,” the document asserts.
“Imminent threat”? That seems reasonable and is a traditional standard for military action. Except, as NBC investigative reporter Michael Isikoff notes, the memo adds that “the condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”
Instead, that previously mentioned “high-level official” can determine that the potential target was “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of an attack and that “there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.”
Isikoff notes the memo does not define “activities” or “recently,” leaving that up to the administration to determine on a case-by-case basis.
- White House: drone strikes are legal, ethical, wise (dailystar.com.lb)
- Do You Agree With White House that Drone Strokes are “Legal,” “Ethical,” and “Wise”? You Shouldn’t. (reason.com)
- DOJ memo justifies drone kills of U.S. citizens abroad (anirrationalviewoftheirrational.wordpress.com)
- Drone Strikes on US Terror Suspects ‘Legal,’ ‘Ethical,’ ‘Wise,’ White House Says (abcnews.go.com)
- White House, Congress square off over Justice Dept. rules for drone strikes (thehill.com)
- ‘Judge, jury and executioner’: Legal experts fear implications of White House drone memo (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- Memo shows how Obama decides to uses drones on Americans (news.yahoo.com)
The CIA opened the Center on Climate Change and National Security in 2009 to monitor the threats posed to national security by “desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts, and heightened competition for natural resources.”
When President-elect Barack Obama said climate change was a matter of national security in Dec. 2008, it seemed like just more talk from another leftist who was convinced humans were destroying the planet.
However, that narrative continued to be set forth by his administration for four straight years; now we’re learning that it went so far as the CIA devoting resources to this “problem” since 2009.
While Hamas, Iran, and Hezbollah are ramping up to strike Israel, while the Taliban openly mocks Obama’s capitulation in Afghanistan, and while Al Qaeda regroups in places like Iraq and Libya, our CIA is worried about a “worldwide security risk” caused by global warming.
In fact, even as the CIA reels from the scandal surrounding former director David Petraeus, an intelligence report has been released in which the agency suggests “the U.S. develop a systematic and enduring whole-of-government strategy for monitoring threats connected to climate change.”
Benghazi was a terrorist attack indicative of a national security threat which the left has been eager to dismiss as much ado about a video, but climate change poses a serious national security risk in the eyes of the Obama administration.
- The CIA Has Closed Its Climate Change Research Office (businessinsider.com)
- Climate is a Security Issue (legalplanet.wordpress.com)
- Report: Climate change is not a national security threat (rubinoworld.com)
- CIA Focuses On The Dangers Of Climate Change (sweetness-light.com)
- By Benghazi Illogic, Try This Absurd Headline: “CIA Finds Hurricane Sandy Caused By Obscure Anti-Gore Video” (forbes.com)
- King: Petraeus Said CIA’s Talking Points Were Edited to Play Down Terrorism (rubinoworld.com)
- Cia Hard at Work Promoting Climate Fraud (lunaticoutpost.com)
Representative Peter King stated that former CIA Director David Petraeus stated that he knew the Benghazi attack was terrorism and that the talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice were different from the ones prepared by the CIA. Petraeus stated Rice’s talking points were edited to demphasized the possibility of terrorism.
- Petraeus Told Congress From The Start (tarpon.wordpress.com)
- Petraeus to testify he knew Libya was terrorism from the start, source says (foxnews.com)
- Rep. Peter King: Petraeus Testified That He Always Pointed to Terrorist Involvement in the Benghazi Attack (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Bobmshell: Petraeus to tell Congress that he knew “almost immediately” Benghazi was work of terrorists (hotair.com)
- Rep. King: Petraeus Clearly Believed Benghazi Attack ‘Did Not Arise Out of a Demonstration (cnsnews.com)
- Petraeus testifies CIA’s Libya talking points were changed, lawmaker says (tarpon.wordpress.com)
News To Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty & Sean Smith: Obama Claims We “Leave No One Behind”
via Tammy Bruce
As each day goes by we get more information illustrating the inhumanity of Obama and his entire administration. I noted this on Twitter earlier today:
Also today, in speaking to the Red Cross, Obama makes this shocking comment, “We leave no one behind.” Considering the facts surrounding Benghazi-gate–that he did leave people behind, literally, I found that remark quite revealing, almost a confession. I believe the Obama regime knows we understand that decisions were made to abandoned our ambassador and 3 other Americans so as to 1) not offend the Libyans and 2) to suppress the fact that his entire Middle East policy of appeasement and weakness, has failed. He sees those four Americans, and the rest of us, as collateral damage on his road to some perverted personal glory.
As a sign of how far his gestapos seem willing to go to protect this menace in the White House, Breitbart has this. This is just a snippet, click through for the whole thing:
Over the weekend, Facebook took down a message by the Special Operations Speaks PAC (SOS) which highlighted the fact that Obama denied backup to the forces being overrun in Benghazi.
The message was contained in a meme which demonstrated how Obama had relied on the SEALS when he was ready to let them get Osama bin Laden, and how he had turned around and denied them when they called for backup on Sept 11…
[They] put a link to the Facebook “feedback comment” inbox so visitors to the SOS page could send a message to Facebook if they were as outraged over the meme being jerked down as he was.
[The] Facebook pulled the re-posted meme down within 7 or 8 hours and suspended the SOS account for 24 hours.
In other words, Facebook put the Navy SEALS in timeout in order to shield Obama. How low can you go?
- Facebook Censors Navy Seals To Protect Obama On Benghazi-Gate (redalertpolitics.com)
- Facebook Censors Navy Seals to Protect Obama on Benghazi-gate (tarpon.wordpress.com)
- WOMEN’S GROUP Slams Obama For Abandoning SEALs in Benghazi (Video) (thegatewaypundit.com)